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INTL Bad blood on the Irish border: the priest, the billionaire and the kidnapped executive
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  1. #1

    Bad blood on the Irish border: the priest, the billionaire and the kidnapped executive

    The interesting part of this is the origins of this problem stems from the financial crisis . Regardless of UK election or Brexit. This company was doing well even before the Good Friday Accords.

    Bad blood on the Irish border: the priest, the billionaire and the kidnapped executive
    The Irish border community in Cavan is in shock at the recent savage attack on a company executive, the violent culmination of a five-year campaign of intimidation. The company was once owned by Ireland’s richest man.

    The evening of September 17 was unusually warm in the small town of Derrylin, eight kilometers (5 miles) north of the Ireland-Northern Ireland border.

    But for Kevin Lunney, a senior executive with Quinn Industrial Holdings, an industrial conglomerate in the town, it quickly turned into a nightmare.

    After making the short drive home to the village of Kinawley after work, he discovered a car blocking his way on the private lane leading to his house, where he lives with his wife and children.

    Within seconds, the vehicle in front reversed and smashed into his car at high speed. Two men emerged to drag Lunney out before a third man placed a knife to the 50-year-old's neck and forced him into another car.

    A few hours later, Lunney was found seminaked and disorientated by a local farmer on a quiet country road 40 kilometers south of the border in Co Cavan (see map).

    He had been abducted and tortured. His leg was broken in two places, he had deep cuts across his face, arms, legs and chest. His fingernails had been cut clean off and his wounds had been doused in bleach, leading to further agony. The letters "QIH" — the initials of the company Lunney works for — had been carved with the knife into his chest.

    Speaking to the BBC this week about his ordeal, Lunney says his attackers told him: "You know why you're here. It's about QIH and you're going to resign." Such was the severity of the condition he found himself in when dumped on the road south of the border hours later, he thought he was going to die.

    Thoughts of his family kept his spirits up sufficiently for him to find the strength to flag down a passing farmer and raise the alarm.

    The Quinn Group's glorious, messy history

    The story of how Lunney ended up on that road has roots in Ireland's economic, social and political past and future. It also helps to explain just why the question of the border in Ireland has formed such a central role in the Brexit debate.

    That region in the Irish borderlands, straddling the counties of Cavan and Fermanagh, is rural, sparsely populated and desolate. Yet, starting in 1973, something of an economic miracle happened there.

    That was the year Seán Quinn, the son of a local farmer, began selling stone from a small quarry on the family farm. Over the next three decades, the enterprise developed beyond his wildest dreams into the Quinn Group, a major industrial and manufacturing operation that eventually included financial services, health insurance hotels and property management in its global portfolio.

    It created a thriving local industry and thousands of jobs out of practically nothing in a region known previously for the Troubles, high levels of unemployment and emigration.

    By November 2005, the Quinn Group was estimated to be worth around €5 billion ($5.5 billion) and in 2008, Quinn was ranked as Ireland's richest man with a personal worth of €4.7 billion.

    But Quinn made a monumental mistake during this time. Between 2005 and 2007, he had built up a 28% stake in Anglo Irish Bank, the doomed entity whose collapse was a key component of the post-2008 financial and economic crisis that afflicted Ireland.

    Quinn's wealth was dramatically wiped out. He was declared bankrupt in Ireland in 2012. The Quinn Group survived and rebranded as Aventas, with the building and packaging divisions forming QIH. It was sold in 2014 during an insolvency process to a consortium of local businessmen backed by US hedge funds Silver Point Capital, Brigade Capital and Contrarian Capital.

    Lunney, who had previously worked for Quinn, was one of those local businessmen.

    The mighty Quinn falls, rises and falls again

    Despite the calamitous nature of his exit from his business empire, Quinn remained a popular figure in the local area. In 2015, he became a QIH adviser on a €500,000 salary. However, things soured and in May 2016, Quinn was sacked.

    Since QIH's rebirth in 2014, scores of incidents of harassment, intimidation and threats of violence have taken place against the company, its executives and its property, with the attack on Lunney the culmination of a near five-year campaign.

    Cavan-Fermanagh border
    The recent violence on the Cavan-Fermanagh border speaks to a dark past

    The tactics of intimidation have centered around the pressuring of executives to step down. "There's a campaign by Quinn loyalists against the existing management and it is vile," one local person told DW on condition of anonymity.

    Quinn himself has made no secret of his desire to return in some form to the company. In an interview with the British television station Channel 4, he said that right up until the incident with Lunney, he had ambitions to "to go back into those offices and sort out Quinn Group" but that those ambitions are dead now because of the attack on Lunney and how any potential return of his would be perceived.

    At times, he has faced criticism for his failure to denounce acts ostensibly carried out in his name. The recent attack led to accusations that Quinn himself, who still lives in the area, had some involvement.

    He strenuously denies this. A sermon by the local parish priest Oliver O'Reilly blamed the savage attack on a "Mafia-style group with its own Godfather" and "paymaster or paymasters." Quinn was angered by the sermon and visited the priest's house to complain. The priest said Quinn "objected to the tone of my homily."

    In the interview with Channel 4, Quinn condemned the attack on Lunney and repeated his denial of any knowledge or involvement. "No, no, no, no I didn't...I had no hand, act, part of knowledge...or no gain in doing anything to Kevin Lunney. Kevin Lunney and I were good friends for years," he said.

    Northern Ireland, Londonderry
    Few locals have any doubt that the ongoing campaign of intimidation is being waged by those with links to illegal Irish republican dissident groups

    Shadows on the border

    While no one has been arrested for the attack, few locals have any doubt that the ongoing campaign of intimidation is being waged by those with links to illegal Irish republican dissident groups such as the Provisional IRA and the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA).

    "Some of them are local thugs and republican dissidents who wouldn't be happy with anything," a local told DW, again on condition of anonymity.

    Organized crime in Ireland's border region has long been dominated by such groups and the flaring up of such casual violence in the area comes at a time when concerns over the consequences of a hardening of the border as a result of Brexit have intensified.

    Lunney says he is recovering well from his ordeal and the company he still works for continues to operate profitably and employ several hundred people locally. But in this area, scarred by violence both recent and not so recent, there is still considerable fear over what the future may bring.

    "Brexit is only a minor topic sometimes," said one local man. "There is no shortage of storylines around here."

  2. #2

    Kevin Lunney abduction: QIH director tells of torture by gang
    5 November 2019

    A businessman from County Fermanagh who was abducted and badly beaten has spoken to the BBC about his ordeal for the first time.

    Kevin Lunney, a director of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH), told BBC Spotlight NI he had the letters QIH cut into his chest with a Stanley knife.

    The 50-year-old was driving from work to his home in Kinawley when he was attacked on 17 September.

    He was found in County Cavan, about 22 miles (35km) away.

    Mr Lunney was beaten and tortured by three men in an attack that lasted for about two and a half hours.

    Recounting the ordeal, Mr Lunney feared he would never see his wife and children again.

    He had driven into the lane leading to his home at about 18:40 BST when he saw a white car ahead of him.

    He said the car was reversed "as hard as they could drive it" into his car.

    WARNING: This story includes some graphic details some readers may find upsetting
    'We're gonna kill you'
    Mr Lunney locked the doors but the windows were smashed and he was dragged out by two men.

    He said a third person then held a Stanley knife to his neck.

    was still resisting a little bit and he said: 'Get into that, and if you don't get into that we're gonna kill you'."

    Mr Lunney was bundled into the boot of a black Audi and his attackers torched his car along with the car they had used to ram it.

    He managed to unlock the boot and tried to escape but was beaten and thrown back into the car.

    After failing to escape, Mr Lunney was driven across the Irish border to County Cavan to what he described as an "old farmyard space" and taken inside a horse box.

    "The same guy who had the Stanley knife said: 'You know why you're here. It's about QIH and you're going to resign.'

    "And I said: 'Yes'."

    Poured bleach on body
    Mr Lunney goes on to describe some of the torture he experienced.

    "He started to run the Stanley knife under each nail, deep enough so it was sore and painful.

    "They poured bleach over my hands, then rubbed them over with a rag really hard."

    The kidnappers then stripped Mr Lunney.

    Using the Stanley knife they cut the clothes from his body, leaving deep cuts along his legs and arms.

    They then poured more bleach over the rest of his body and used a rag to rub it into the wounds.

    Mr Lunney said he was in excruciating pain: "I was screaming, I think. I don't remember."

    The kidnappers then told Mr Lunney they had been watching him, his family and the other Quinn directors and if they did not all resign they would come after all of them.

    'I roared'
    But his ordeal was not at an end. His leg was then hit with what he thinks was a baseball bat or short fence post.

    "I heard it breaking. I roared," he said.

    His leg was hit again. It was broken in two places.

    Since his attack Mr Lunney has grown a beard to cover scars on his face.

    He said the man with the Stanley knife cut his face on each side, five or six times.

    He then used it to cut QIH into his chest.

    Mr Lunney thinks the men were working from a list.

    "I think certainly breaking the leg was on the list," he said.

    He recounted them saying: "We have to rough you up, we have to mark you, we have to make sure you remember."

    Mr Lunney was dumped at the side of a road in County Cavan, 22 miles away from where he was abducted.

    Cold, in agony and losing blood, he said he felt like he "was going to die on the road".

    A man on a passing tractor saw him at the side on the road at about 21:00 BST and called the gardaí (Irish Police).

    Detectives on both sides of the Irish border are investigating the attack.

    The directors of Quinn Industrial Holdings held a meeting with the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris on Tuesday.

    They said they had received assurances progress was being made in the investigation into Mr Lunney's abduction.

    The assault was the latest in a series of attacks on employees and property linked to QIH.

    The companies which make up QIH were formerly owned by Sean Quinn, who was once Ireland's richest man.

    When his business empire collapsed, businessmen backed by three investment funds bought its manufacturing companies in December 2014 - the firms are run by former associates of Mr Quinn.

    He returned as a consultant, but left QIH in 2016 amid tension between him and the management team.

    Mr Quinn has condemned the attack on Mr Lunney and called for the intimidation to stop.

    He added that the incident ended any ambition he had to return to the Quinn Group.

  3. #3
    Read the comments section to get some of the flavor of this.

    Lunney attack: Sean Quinn no longer wants to take back control of his former businesses
    Kevin Lunney was abducted from his home in Co Fermanagh in September.

    Oct 18th 2019, 6:19 PM 32,318 Views 48 Comments Share4 Tweet Email2
    Sean Quinn Sean Quinn
    Image: Brian Lawless via PA Images
    BUSINESSMAN SEAN QUINN says he has no desire to take back his former companies following the attack on Kevin Lunney.

    Lunney, a director of building products manufacturer Quinn Industrial Holdings, was kidnapped and badly beaten in September after being abducted from outside his home in Co Fermanagh.

    He received knife wounds to his face and neck, and had one of his legs broken in two places in a sustained attack before being dumped a roadside across the border in Cornafean, Co Cavan.

    Quinn, who was once Ireland’s richest man, formerly owned the companies now known as Quinn Industrial Holdings.

    His empire collapsed in 2012 and he lost control of his portfolio of businesses. He was later employed as a consultant at his former companies, but left that role in 2016.

    The attack, during which Lunney was reportedly tortured, was the latest in a series targeting Quinn Industrial Holdings and its directors.

    There have been around 70 incidents throughout a five-year campaign of violence and intimidation directed at the management that has been running QIH since the fall of Quinn.

    A sinister element in the community in the Fermanagh/Cavan border area continues to vent anger at the demise of Quinn’s empire. Paramilitary involvement is suspected.

    The Quinn family has consistently condemned and distanced itself from those attacking the new owners.

    Quinn, who originally founded the business, has publicly condemned the attack on Lunney, attacks against QIH employees and property.

    In an interview with Channel 4 news, Quinn says the attack on Lunney means he no longer wants to take back control of his former businesses.

    “I’m telling you a month ago, I still had ambitions to go back into those office and sort out the Quinn Group. Not today,” he said.

    When asked why he has changed his position, he said: “Kevin Lunney.”

    “People can say whatever they want about me but I don’t want to be seen as being the beneficiary of abuse of criminal activity,” he said.

    The Explainer: Why was a Quinn Industrial Holdings director abducted?
    'People don't know who'll be next': How a campaign of intimidation came to Fermanagh and Cavan
    Quinn Industrial Holdings director suffered 'severe and savage' attack before being dumped on side of road
    Quinn said he had no part in commissioning, or sanctioning the abduction and torture of Lunney.

    I’d have no hand, act or part or no knowledge or no gain; I’d have no benefit of doing anything to Kevin Lunney. Kevin Lunney and I were good friends for years.
    Quinn said people in his local community are angry about how he claims he was treated by QIH executives.

    He added: “The locals are also very angry about that they’ve done to me: throwing me out the gate, giving me nothing, sacking me. They’re very, very angry.”

    Quinn said the attacks being carried out on Quinn executives are not being carried out in his name.

    He said: “I’d think somebody with a high IQ would know that Sean Quinn is not a real fool. And that he would know that if something would have happened to Kevin Lunney, that people would be looking in his direction.

    “Wouldn’t I know that? So, unless they consider me a real idiot, there’s no way that I could allow that to be done in my name.”

    Short URL

  4. #4
    Here is a decades old history of Sean Quinn.

    1987: Quinn begins
    In 2007 ‘Forbes’ magazine ranked Seán Quinn the 177th richest man in the world. By 2011 he was bankrupt after his catastrophic bets on the price of Anglo Irish Bank shares. A quarter of a century ago, on a walk along the Border, the writer Colm Tóibín came across the then little-known businessman, who was in the process of building his empire
    Sat, Sep 28, 2013, 01:00
    Colm Toibin


    Plain Jane here. I cannot get any part of the rest of the article to copy. Rats!

    It was written in 1987 and is a fascinating look at life in this border area and Sean Quinn in particular before the Good Friday Accords. I suspect that there are no angels here. Quinn brought a measure of prosperity here but took a lot of risks with his financial holdings.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Back in Iowa, where I belong
    So why is the priest so important as to warrant front billing?

    At times, he has faced criticism for his failure to denounce acts ostensibly carried out in his name. The recent attack led to accusations that Quinn himself, who still lives in the area, had some involvement.

    He strenuously denies this. A sermon by the local parish priest Oliver O'Reilly blamed the savage attack on a "Mafia-style group with its own Godfather" and "paymaster or paymasters." Quinn was angered by the sermon and visited the priest's house to complain. The priest said Quinn "objected to the tone of my homily."
    That seems to be the extent of his involvement, blaming an unnamed group during a sermon.

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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Reasonable Rascal View Post
    So why is the priest so important as to warrant front billing?

    That seems to be the extent of his involvement, blaming an unnamed group during a sermon.

    What the priest was implying is that Quinn was the one who paid the gang who beat up Lunney.

  7. #7

    Chief suspect in Kevin Lunney attack dies during police raid
    Documentation, laptops and other evidence seized by police in Derbyshire operation
    about 10 hours ago Updated: about an hour ago
    Conor Lally, Shauna Bowes, Freya McClements, Simon Carswell

    A large amount of documentation, laptops and other evidence has been found at a property in which the main suspect behind the campaign of intimidation and violence against senior Quinn executives died during police raids in the UK on Friday.

    Security sources told The Irish Times the material found in the house in Derbyshire “looks like a treasure trove” of information that can aid the Garda and PSNI investigation into the campaign of intimidation against the executives at Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH).

    The same sources said the documents and data on electronic devices would be analysed closely in an effort to establish if any of it links the deceased suspect to a person QIH executives have described as “the paymaster” in funding the campaign against them.

    A series of raids in the Republic, Northern Ireland and in Derbyshire against the gang suspected of engaging in the violence was carried out on Friday. And sources familiar with the operation say the gang leader who died in Derbyshire, Cyril McGuinness aka Dublin Jimmy, believed he was in a safe house that was unknown to law enforcement in Ireland or Britain.

    It seems at this stage that he was absolutely shocked he was found and when his door was knocked in he went into cardiac arrest and died,” said one source. Although the same person stressed only a postmortem would establish the cause of death.

    Another source said because the dead man – who is originally from Dublin but has lived in the Border region, mainly Fermanagh, for years – believed his location was unknown and that he would not be found. The documents and devices he had taken with him were likely very significant and may “blow the whole case open”.

    A spokesman for Derbyshire Constabulary confirmed the death of a 54-year-old man in the raid, but would not disclose his identity or nationality.

    Derbyshire police said their officers carried out a search at an address in Buxton at 7.30am on Friday on behalf of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and that a man inside the property was taken ill a short time later.

    “Despite first aid being administered by our officers, the 54-year-old man was later pronounced dead,” said the British police force.

    “We have referred ourselves to the Independent Office of Police Conduct, which has launched an investigation into the circumstances.”

    The office is routinely contacted where an individual dies following police contact, a spokesman for Derbyshire Constabulary said.

    He said the Independent Office of Police Conduct, which oversees a system for handling complaints against police in England and Wales, would be carrying out an independent investigation into the circumstances around the death.

    This was a routine procedure that was followed where an individual dies following police contact, he said. The spokesman said that a court inquest would be held into the death of the man at a later date.

    McGuinness, in his 50s, with an address on Teemore Road, Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, was the main suspect behind the campaign of intimidation and violence against senior Quinn executives in the Border region.

    He is believed to have been the head of the gang that has been behind the violence, including the abduction and torture of Kevin Lunney in September.

    Several co-ordinated raids
    Gardaí said late on Friday afternoon that it had completed all searches which started this morning in Cavan, Longford and Dublin.

    These searches were a valuable step in the evidence-gathering stage of this ongoing criminal investigation,” said the force.

    Gardaí had been searching five locations in Co Cavan, three in Co Longford and four in Dublin. The premises were a mixture of domestic dwellings and commercial/business premises.

    The searches were part of the evidence gathering stage to progress the investigations into the abduction, false imprisonment and assault of Mr Lunney (50) on September 17th.

    More than 100 members of the force are assisting the investigation team at Cavan Garda station including colleagues from Cavan-Monaghan Garda Division, regional support units, national support service, dog units, National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau and National Public Order Unit.

    The PSNI were searching five locations in the Derrylin area in Co Fermanagh and Derbyshire Constabulary are searching one location in Britain.

    Detective Chief Inspector of the PSNI Julie Mullan said the investigation is “continuing at pace” .

    Today‘s significant operation involves searching four residential properties and one commercial premises in the Derrylin area,” said Ms Mullan.

    “This was a truly horrific crime and we continue to work closely with our colleagues in An Garda Síochána and now also Derbyshire Constabulary to try and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

    The article goes on to describe the attack on Kevin Lunney as described in previous posts.

  8. #8
    The guy that died was the "ring leader" or was accused of being basically the mob boss that "ordered" the hit.

    It really does look like he did die of a heart attack during the raid, hard as that may be to believe; I mean I wouldn't take bets on it but with him dead, the investigation will have a much harder time going forward.

    And yes, the Priest did pretty much accuse someone of the deed from the pulpit, Priests can still have a lot of power here in rural Ireland; not as much as they once did but it is still a powerful position in some rural communities.

    Especially among the older folks, if the Priest says it, God probably approves of it, not as much as before all the scandals but some of that belief is still pretty common.
    expatriate Californian living in rural Ireland with husband, dogs, horses. garden and many, many cats


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